10 Tips for Self-Care
Before the holidays come upon us and make you feel like you’re on top of a hill that’s lined with banana peels while you’re on roller skates ready to slide uncontrollably from Halloween to New Years Day, you can do something about it! You can take charge of your routine and set your rhythms now and I’m here to help you with some ideas to get you started.
You may see some items on this list and go, “Good Lawd — I see that advice EVERYWHERE!” Okay then, well maybe the Universe is sending you a message to start actually DOING one of them because maybe there’s something TO them
Look at how loved you are that you keep getting the same message over and over again 🙂
My advice? Pick something in the morning, something in the afternoon, and something in the evening so that you can anchor yourself into your rhythms and reset yourself throughout the day.
I really think that before picking up the phone and checking Facebook for the latest on political tensions and all-things-Kardashian first thing in the morning, it might be more constructive to focus ourselves on more peaceful pursuits.
Meditation rocks for that.
Whether you focus on your breath by counting in 4, holding for 4, releasing for 4 and holding for 4 (Square or Box breathing) or you focus your mind on a thought with each exhale and inhale “I breathe out fear, I breathe in peace”– or you take on a mantra like “All is well” or maybe a guided meditation to help with anxiety.
There are no lack of options or information OR benefits from taking on a meditation practice:
Reducing stress and anxiety
Lengthening your attention span
Dealing with Hashimoto’s and adrenal issues, meant that stress was high and peace was low. Meditation helped me to find some internal balance while I was supporting myself with proper medication and supplements and gave me tools to access peace, not just when I was meditating but throughout my day.
Here’s a list of more science-based benefits for you to see.
Take a Walk
As an author, transformation coach, and professional musician, I sit a lot. It makes me crazy, honestly.
You can imagine how excited I am for my 12-hour flight to Italy this week…
And because I know me, I know I work best in 90 minute blocks of inspiration. So, what I do is set my timer for 90 minutes and then, I take a 30 minute walk and talk to a friend.
One of the contributing factors to my weight loss when I lost 70 pounds in 4 months was walking a few times a day! I started with 5 minutes at a very. slow. pace. And then, eventually increased.
Walking can also be a great stress reducer, is a gentle exercise for tired adrenals, and can lift depression.
Sing and Dance
My friend, Nigel, and I would spend long hours on the phone or in an online chat. Especially when I was going through a lot of spiritual churning about my beliefs — what to hold onto and what to let go. If I was feeling down, he asked with his British accent, “So, have you played the piano today? Have you sung a song? Call me after you have.”
Well, his question is one of the ages:
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”
~ The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary
Taking the 3.5 minutes it takes to either belt out a tune or put your dancing shoes on, is a fabulous way to lower your cortisol, stimulate your vagus nerve, and raise your energy level.
Watch Something Happy
One of the first things that go away when we’re in a butt-clenching time of our life, is our sense of humor. How many times was I preparing for a holiday or special event when my to-do list got so big that I lost my joy and perspective.
Norman Cousins, famed political journalist and world peace advocate went on a trip to Russia. When he returned, he was diagnosed with a very painful autoimmune condition that left him hospitalized and unable to use him limbs without great suffering. He convinced the doctor to release him from the hospital so that Cousins could get a hotel across the street and take large doses of vitamin C and watch funny movies, claiming that 10 minutes of laughter gave him 2 hours of pain relief. Within months he was able to function again despite a daunting, lifetime diagnosis.
I know for me, once I got sick with Hashimoto’s I found myself uber-stressed by shows and movies that I used to enjoy. Even my beloved M*A*S*H was amping me up. We stopped watching the news and eventually pulled the TV out of our home and oh. My. glob. Peace abounded! I stopped watching intense films on the regular and would only watch films that made me happy, smile, and laugh. I love to feel good and one of my favorite shows on Netflix is Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is a scream as he tattles on the craziness in my Italian-American upbringing and I’m enjoying the different comedians over at Dry Bar Comedy that have hundreds of 5 minute videos like this one by Dennis Regan that made my boys laugh yesterday.
What makes you giggle that you can put on your daily schedule?
I Am Mantras
It’s really tempting to poo-poo the woo-woo stuff that comes our way. Saying affirmations with “I Am” statements could be a tempting one to dismiss, but here’s why it’s worth doing: Because declaring positive truths and identifying yourself with greatness and love shifts your brain and your perspective on life.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said that I Am statements mattered because “… Every single time you use the words “I AM” you are citing the name of God! Right from the holiest books. And every time you say the words “I am weak, I am poor, I am unlucky, I am unhappy, I am sick, I am unable to attract in my life what I want, you are desecrating the name God.”
Dr. Dyer points out that God did not say “I will be”, “My name is I Hope Things Work Out Well”, “My name is Maybe Things That I Want Will Show Up But Possibly Not!” He said “I AM that I AM”
I love Wayne Dyer’s work and it made a huge impact on my life. I believe, too, that we can focus on beautiful truths and powerful statements like:
I am love.
I am one with God.
I am powerfully able to create a life that I love.
My chiropractor recently gave me a list of words and said, “Choose 5 of these qualities and make them I AM statements that you read for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night as part of your healing.”
Gotta love a doctor who knows that we’re more than a body and that our mind is powerful to heal!
If you want to look at how our words can make a difference, you can peek at Mark Robert Waldman’s book: “Words Can Change Your Brain.”
Speaking of positive words: When I walk up to my 16 year-old in the morning, who wakes up at the crack of dawn like I do, I say, “Hello, Beautiful Caleb!” and he answers back, “Hello, Beautiful Momma!” It makes me smile EVERY time! Seriously. Guess, what: I can message myself with reminders that make me smile all day long.
A little love note on the mirror is the perfect way to put my daily mantra, or favorite quote, or best thought right in front of me. Using a fun erase-able marker like these remind me of who I am.
One of my favorite quotes since I was about 12 years-old was from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To find the beautiful, we must carry it with us.”
My friend, Tina Carson, wrote a song called, “I am Magnificent!”
I told my boys when they were little and to this day, “You are Love. Made from Love. To Love and Be Loved.”
As a life coach, I encourage my clients often to speak the truth of who they are over themselves. Many of us have dealt with that naggy, bitchy voice in our head that only wants to tell us the things we did wrong.
What’s a message that speaks to your soul that you can put in front of you today?
Cup of Tea
You know, our friends “Across the Pond” have the right idea with tea time: To take a spell of time for a spot of tea out of our day is more than a time of hydration, it’s a time to stop and sit and allow for cucumber cream cheese sandwiches with no crust to be the magic that they truly are.
Well, they’re especially magical when our cortisol drops, our system is relaxed and the ‘rest and digest’ healing part of our body is allowed to serve us again.
In our on-the-go, eat-on-the-run American culture, we don’t take time for that “pause” to reset.
The British do tea, as do the Asian cultures, the Italians do “Aperitivo” (a digestive drink with some light food to transition between the work day and evening).
What practice could you incorporate to sit down and reset your day?
I loved how this article mentioned how a Buddhist monk used tea as a part of his meditation.
Read for 15 minutes
If you’re anything like me, you get magazines like “Real Simple” and “Sunset” and “Food and Wine” that make you happy just to think about, but then they just stack up on the side table in the Land that Time Forgot until you feel so guilty you race through them before you throw them out in the trash.
Or maybe that’s just me.
One of my joys was when I committed to reading 15 minutes a day for 100 days straight. Oh my gosh — what a delight to ENJOY my books and magazines that had been piling up and just relish in the creativity of other writers!
Giving myself permission to spend that time allowed me to stop defaulting to my phone and Facebook… to sit in my rocking chair (that my mom rocked me in when I was a baby!) and give myself the gift of time to sit and read.
It made me smile EVERY time I got up and carried on with my day.
Epsom salt bath
This is one of my go-to escapes and self-care rituals. Taking a cup of epsom salt (which is magnesium sulfate) and pouring it into the Goldilocks temperature tub (‘just right’) and soaking for 20 minutes is bliss.
Some of the benefits you can experience are: better magnesium absorption, relaxed muscles, less stress, better recovery after a workout, relief from constipation, and softer skin — just to name a few.
Honestly, I see this and I snore. Like, are we done with the ‘Being Grateful’ thing yet? Well, hell no, we’re not. You know why? Gratitude is not just a natural outflow of humble appreciation, BUT it’s an access point for lifted spirits, happiness, valuing the people and things we have in our life, contentment with what we have, peace with what we don’t… and so much more!
Gratitude takes our lives to the next levels of greatness AND it can lead to even more to be grateful for.
Gratitude is a fabulous pathway for us to see the goodness that life is while we also experience the goodness life can bring to us!
Taking a few minutes each evening to journal for five minutes, or just a few lines — to mention 3-5 people, situations, lessons, opportunities, treasures, or just whatever you encountered in your day that you’re thankful for — is a wonderful practice of reflection and sends you into sleep with a more settled spirit.
So, there you go: If you need an idea on how to care for yourself and your spirit, you now have 10 of them!
I would love to hear which ones you’re going to take on so that you can set you — and your holidays — up for maximum sanity and minimum stress.
Santa will be very happy to know that you’ve taken such good care of yourself that he doesn’t have to give you that extra large flask this Christmas…
Sending you big love and peaceful practices,